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Helping People in MexicoWhen people think about the country of Mexico, people reflect on some of its cultural features. These include the country’s food, music and clothing style. What people do not know about Mexico is that between the years of 2012 and 2014, the number of individuals living in conditions of poverty has increased by two million.

With this fact in mind, many people ask how to help people in Mexico. Due to the Mexican government spending many of its resources fighting the growing problem of cartels within its borders in conjunction to helping grow its economy, private solutions to poverty in Mexico appear to be much more adequate solutions to this issue.

This article highlights some NGOs that address to problem of how to help people in Mexico. Below are two NGOs that are currently doing this.

Children International

Drug violence and drug trafficking has transformed the cities of Mexico — essentially into war zones — and has taken hold of every section of the country’s state and national politics. The people most affected by the influence of the cartels in Mexico are the nation’s child populations. The NGO, Children International, is helping people in Mexico by focusing on the child populations living in the country’s cities.

Children International is helping people in Mexico by creating community centers which act as safe havens for the kids residing in this region. These centers contain books and computers for educational purposes, and toys to keep them entertained. On top of this, these centers also serve as a hub for child program activities that teach kids they can have a better life, and how to achieve that life.

One way to begin helping people in Mexico is to either donate to this NGO or to do volunteer work with their organization. Although volunteering is the most effective way of helping these people, any donation made makes a great difference.

Freedom From Hunger

Freedom From Hunger is an NGO that is helping people in Mexico by creating programs that aim to reduce the country’s food insecurity issue. Food insecurity gets defined as the inability to meet one’s basic nutritional needs for some or all of the year. On top of having 53 percent of the country living in poverty, and having 24 percent of the population living in extreme poverty, many people outside of these two groups struggle with food insecurity.

Freedom From Hunger is partnering up with local organizations in Mexico’s major cities and food banks. This partnership is being done to reach out to the needy in the country and give them access to a better food supply.

On top of this, Freedom From Hunger is helping people in Mexico by creating savings and loan programs for the people living under conditions of poverty. Although the incomes of these groups may be low, the issue of poverty only gets exacerbated when families fall further into debt or make poor financial decisions with what little money they do have.

Between helping the poor in Mexico deal with food insecurity and their economic issues, Freedom From Hunger is making great strides in fighting poverty in Mexico. In their first year, they reached out to 14,000 people in villages and cities where these services are needed. To support this group, and to begin helping the people in Mexico, volunteering one’s time or donating is a great way to start.

Private institutions are not always as efficient at making the substantive change needed to begin eliminating poverty, and at the current moment, the Mexican government is unable to make real change for its people dealing with poverty. With time and commitment, these organizations offer solutions for how to help people in Mexico and can continue to make the change needed in the country.

Nick Beauchamp

Photo: Flickr


The news of the ugly, modern warfare occurring in Syria is heartbreaking. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to the problem of Syria’s civil war. Despite obstacles, many agencies are doing their best to get humanitarian aid to civilians. In particular, USAID helps Syria by funding many organizations within the United Nations (U.N.), through non-government organizations (NGOs), and its own programs. Here are six specific groups that USAID helps fund:

  1. USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART)DART currently has teams deployed to Turkey and Jordan. They are on standby in case of a sudden and large-scale displacement of Syrian refugees, or for any other humanitarian needs caused by the conflict in Syria.
  2. USAID/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)USAID/OFDA funds U.N. and NGO sponsored programs. This department has helped provide medical care to Syrians by helping the U.N.’s World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO has been able to evacuate patients out of conflict zones, as well as identify and vaccinate against a recent measles outbreak. USAID/OFDA also funded NGOs to train Syrian medical staff, provide medical supplies, and vaccinate against polio.
  3. The Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM)USAID is funding the U.N. World Food Program and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, which have been able to report on food and crop security in Syria. The CFSAM report shows that less food is being produced in Syria. With this information, the U.N. is able to respond with appropriate food deliveries.
  4. The World Food Programme (WFP)USAID gave $79,812,417 to the WFP’s work in Syria during the 2016 fiscal year. This does not include the funding given to the WFP for use in neighboring countries. In January, the WFP delivered food to 3.6 million people in Syria. The WFP has also given food assistance to conflict-isolated people in the Jordan-Syrian border towns. Finally, the WFP has given more than 1.6 million Syrian refugees food vouchers on debit cards.
  5. The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF)UNICEF is helping in Syria and in neighboring countries. Within Syria, UNICEF is bringing six million liters of water daily. This is estimated to help 400,000 people in the country. UNICEF is helping Syrian refugees as well. Last November and December, they provided $28 clothing vouchers for Syrian refugee children in Jordan to buy winter clothing. These vouchers were given to 128,430 Syrian children. UNICEF is also offering psychosocial support to Syrian refugee children in Turkey. In January, they helped 7,200 children. UNICEF is also helping refugees by providing social services.
  6. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)The U.N. organization, OCHA, received $3,000,000 from USAID in the 2016 fiscal year. As a result, OCHA has been able to present reports on the humanitarian crisis in Syria. As a result of this important work, the world now knows if humanitarian aid is able to get into Syria, citizens are impacted by aid disruptions and by the state of facilities and infrastructure throughout Syria.

While these examples are encouraging, Syria is still struggling to receive humanitarian aid being offered. In many cases, battles between the al-Assad regime and the rebel forces prevent aid workers from reaching citizens. In some cases, the Islamic State has deliberately blocked aid organizations from repairing infrastructure.

Yet, the world is persistent and continues to fund humanitarian aid to Syria. USAID helps Syria in even more ways than are listed here. Also, the USAID website implores people to donate to NGO’s working in Syria.

It’s dispiriting to watch what unfolds in Syria and hard to imagine how Americans can help. Another way we can help is to tell Congress to support the USAID budget. As few as seven calls from constituents have been known to impact the legislation that a congressman or senator supports.

Mary Katherine Crowley

Photo: Flickr

largest and fastest growing slums
Though the apartheid that bore Khayelitsha ended over 20 years ago, the damage has yet to depart. Cape Town was conceived for the sole purpose to house blacks in the white dominant country of South Africa, with protectant buffer zones of scrubland and valleys to separate Cape Town from the rest of the country. This made Cape Town one of the most populated cities in South Africa and Khayelitsha one of the most populated slums.

Though Khayelitsha was originally an apartheid dumping ground, as part of the “Group Areas Act” it is now one of the largest and fastest growing slums in South Africa. Khayelitsha is home to around 2.4 million individuals, 50 percent of which are under the age of 19.

Over the past ten years, the population has increased from 400,000 to 2.4 million. The unemployment rate for individuals living in Khayelitsha is 73 percent with 70 percent of its individuals living in shacks.

The severe poverty combined with a lack of community infrastructure has led the community to vast crime rates, gangs, violence and drug use, thus placing Khayelitsha as the murder capital of South Africa. Local police say they deal with an average of four murders every weekend.

Living conditions in Khayelitsha are less than pleasant, with the unfortunate 70 percent of individuals living in shacks made of timber and sheet metal. The shacks are built very close to one another making fires a constant problem due to how fast they spread and how often they occur. There are no street names in Khayelitsha, instead, the large area is divided into 26 districts, which are numbered by letters, with each shack having a different number.

Sanitation is another struggle for the individuals of Khayelitsha, often times their toilets leak into the streets, fermenting there for weeks. This sanitation issue causes many diseases and sicknesses within the community.

Lack of clean water and food is yet another hardship. An estimated one in three people have to walk 200 meters or more to access clean water. A limited food supply is sold between shacks, being constantly exposed to the sun and flies. Food sold between shacks is the only food option in Khayelitsha being that there are no supermarkets or stores of any kind.

Overcrowding has been another common problem in this ever-growing slum. Khayelitsha has a high population density and a low amount of resources to support the growing population. This, along with a lack of security makes theft and crime very easy.

In an interview, one Khayelitsha resident, Nomfusi Panyaza, explained what it is truly like to live in Khayelitsha. She explained that when it rains, the surrounding public toilets overflow into her living room with water coming through the ceiling. Panyaza lives in her small shack with six other family members and two beds to share among the seven of them.

Though Khayelitsha’s hardships are very much prevalent, certain NGOs are doing what they can to alleviate various hardships. Some of the outreach that has been made is through the Zhakele Clinic, which was opened in Khayelitsha for the population’s health care. Unfortunately, the need surpasses what this small clinic can do, but it is a starting point that can be expanded.

Secondly, the nutritional support initiative (NSI) encourages patients to come into the clinic by giving the patients a two-week supply of nutritionally enhanced maize meals called e’Pap. E’Pap is a pre-cooked porridge with soy protein fortified with 28 nutrients. Providing patients with e’Pap decreases the amount and severity of side effects to the medications that the patients are taking and improves their overall health by lessening their chances of malnutrition.

Thirdly, the NGO, TB/HIV Care, which started in 1929, aims to decrease the incidence of tuberculosis and HIV across all of South Africa. Their plan is to improve the current TB and HIV prevention and care by researching and monitoring the area, helping not only the current situation but also looking to better South Africa’s future.

Khayelitsha is certainly a vastly troubled place though it should not be considered a lost cause. With the combined efforts of determined people and organizations, both mentioned above, as well as others, one of the world’s largest and fastest growing slums can finally improve its situation.

Bella Chaffey

Photo: Flickr

Refugee NonprofitsWhile forced migration is a constant problem, advances in technology have changed the playing field, and aid organizations are struggling to keep up.

Today, refugees are using their smartphones for both practical uses and methods of comfort in a difficult situation. For efficient aid distribution, change in refugee behavior must be accompanied by a corresponding change in nongovernment organization (NGO) structure.

“Our phones and power banks are more important for our journey than anything, even more important than food,” a refugee from Syria, Wael, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency.

When Hassan, a 28-year-old teacher fleeing the Syrian civil war, found out his rubber dinghy was sinking in the middle of the Aegean Sea, he used WhatsApp to alert his friend in New York of his location. He was found by the Turkish Coast Guard 45 minutes later.

Hala, a refugee from Aleppo, uses her phone as the only means of contact left between her and her husband, who was kidnapped by ISIS prior to her departure.

“That’s why I’m always holding it. I’m holding on to it like I’m holding on to an address of my own, my family. This metal device has become my whole world,” said Hala to a Channel 4 film documentary crew.

Smartphones have become such vital tools that it is now standard practice for NGOs to distribute chargers in refugee camps.

Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, Google Maps – they’re commonplace applications that have helped refugees quickly navigate their way to safety. Perhaps even a bit too quickly.

“You see their [NGOs] logos, but you don’t see them,” said Hassan.

International aid workers have struggled to keep up with the pace of migrants, often ditching the practice of establishing camps in favor of delivering aid to wherever refugees might happen to be.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) changed their policies in 2014, funding hackathons across Europe so app developers throughout Europe could create new tech-centric solutions to their problem.

These hackathons proved themselves instantly effective. Instead of relying on static means of distribution, new projects like Germany’s Refugees Welcome and Comme à la Maison (CALM) created a channel for refugees to find necessary contacts to help them wherever they may be.

In the future, huge aid organizations should back the winners of hackathons like Techfugees, which generates a variety of smaller startups that are more intuitive and problem-specific.

Regina Park

Photo: Flickr

Libyan
The United States declared it carried out a series of airstrikes on the Libyan city of Sirte, an ISIS stronghold, at the request of the Libyan government in August 2016.

The strikes came after nearly two years of concentrated efforts by the U.S. and Libyan governments to remove ISIS from Sirte; a strategically important city located directly between two of Libya’s largest cities, Benghazi and Tripoli.

The erasure of ISIS’s presence from Sirte means the city’s residents will be able to enjoy a higher standard of living, increased access to food and fuel and control of their incomes. Reclaiming the city from ISIS also means that healthcare in Libya will be one step closer to returning to pre-2011 standards.

Regaining control of Sirte will allow the Libyan government and certain NGOs, such as Doctors Without Borders, to begin safely providing much-needed healthcare services to the city’s residents.

Healthcare providers in Libya will be able to distribute resources across the country more evenly as they are needed, especially between Benghazi and Tripoli.

On a more significant level, overcoming the ISIS presence in Libya will remove one of the larger issues that the country has had to contend with during its rebuilding process, which has been ongoing since the country experienced a wave of revolutionary action during the Arab Spring in 2011.

Currently, the country lacks a central government as numerous opposing factions emerged after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.

A U.N.-backed entity known as the Government of National Accord recently made the most significant strides in uniting the country. They will undoubtedly find the task easier with ISIS’s removal.

A successfully unified government would likely see the return of a functioning and well-equipped healthcare system; something that the country has been sorely lacking since 2011.

According to Doctors Without Borders, many hospitals have been forced to close in recent years due to lack of funds, lack of staff members and concerns about security.

A fully functioning government would be able to solve the coordination problems currently preventing the distribution of funds and supplies.

They would be also able to effectively provide secure environments for hospitals and healthcare providers to safely operate.

More funds, supplies and increased security would allow for the return of foreign-born healthcare workers, many of whom left in the wake of 2011 upheaval.

Will Clifft

Photo: Flickr

Improving Education
Education is essential to achieving a higher quality of life. Many individuals in developing countries find it difficult to access quality education due to poverty, violent conflict and a myriad of other issues.

Global access to education may seem like a daunting problem, but there are numerous organizations you can support to increase a child’s access to education in the developing world.

The African Children’s Educational Trust (A-CET)

A-CET focuses on developing education in Ethiopia. It provides long-term scholarships to at-risk children that are funded by individual donations. The charity also works to improve and build schools within the country.

The BOMA Project

The BOMA Project is based in the U.S. and strives to better the lives of women in drought-prone areas. The organization gives grants to women within various communities as well as provides a two-year “poverty graduation program” which teaches these women how to run a small business.

By educating vulnerable women about business, the BOMA Project helps to create self-sustainable communities. The NGO is only operating in Kenya currently, but it hopes to expand its reach in the near future.

She’s the First

She’s the First is another organization focused on impoverished women within developing countries. The NGO provides girls throughout the world with the resources and connections essential to a quality education and future.

UNICEF

UNICEF is a well-known UN program dedicated to providing aid to developing countries. Access to education in these countries is among the numerous humanitarian issues UNICEF aims to address through collaboration with governments and NGOs.

Save the Children

Save the Children was originally founded in London in 1919 to address hunger caused by World War I. Today, the organization fights for vulnerable children throughout the world. Through teacher training and empowering parents and their children, Save the Children helps improve the quality of education in developing countries.

All of these organizations strive to increase education in the developing world. While some work on a smaller level, they are all making a difference. Donating or even volunteering for these and similar organizations are just a few ways you can help a child in need access a quality education and escape the cycle of poverty.

Saroja Koneru

Photo: Flickr

What is Advocacy?-TBP
Advocacy is a concept with a short definition but an extensive explanation. In a very broad sense, advocacy is simply supporting a cause. The cause could be anything from human rights to animal rights and anything in between and beyond. An advocate works on behalf of another person or a group of people (or animals) who are voiceless or too vulnerable to promote their own causes and obtain help.

Advocates can work on the behalf of individuals, such as a parent for a child. Other examples include a teacher for a student, a doctor for a patient and a lawyer for a client. Relatives can also hire individual advocates who are trained and specialize in specific causes. Advocating for the disabled is one example.

Advocates can also work for groups that support individuals or larger numbers of people. Nonprofit organizations, such as charities or public arts organizations, are one type. An example is The Borgen Project. Another type are nongovernmental organizations that include Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International.

Depending on the context of the situation, whether it be social, legal, medical or political, advocates use different skills and types of activities to benefit the people they support. Most advocacy involves at least researching, educating and organizing. The following list of activities, while not comprehensive, includes the most common advocacy activities.

  1. Research to gather the necessary information that reflects the reality as well as expose the myths of a cause or a person’s situation. Research also includes discovering relevant, beneficial resources.
  2. Educate legislators, school administrators, the public or other parties who change the laws, make the decisions or can in any other way provide what is necessary. The education may include composing fact sheets, writing letters or speaking at meetings or with individuals.
  3. Organize meetings, conferences and rallies in order to build a foundation of support and power within a community.
  4. Collaborate with other advocates or groups of the same philosophy to fortify resources and staff. You’ll be better prepared to campaign for shared goals.
  5. Attend conferences in order to network and share information with others of similar needs. This is one way to both research and collaborate.
  6. Act as a watchdog to ensure that government agencies comply with existing laws and regulations.
  7. Litigate to win in court for a person or cause.
  8. Lobby for or against specific legislation in order to benefit a person or cause.

These activities help form the backbone of advocacy. They enable advocates to support, defend and safeguard the children, families, communities and causes they represent. In these small and large ways, advocacy efforts effectively empower the vulnerable and give voice to the voiceless.

– Janet Quinn

Sources: Alliance for Justice, Citizens’ Committee for Children
Photo: NAGC

NGOs
Information and Communications Technology, or ICT for short, is the way of the future for non-government organizations (NGOs). By effectively using new ICT, all types of NGOs are becoming more efficient in how they track and record data, as well as plan for future projects.

This new technology breaks down the complexity of information that NGOs handle on a daily basis and helps format it in a way that makes it simpler for these groups to utilize in their future endeavors.

Information and Communications Technology encompasses all sorts of specific fields. It covers things such as radio, television, cellular phones, and computer technology.

By using ICT, NGOs can spread their messages more efficiently through a wider array of platforms, develop better on-site technologies in third-world countries, and establish long-term methods to record information on poverty levels around the world.

An article by the Dhaka Tribune delved into the many benefits that ICT brings with it for non-government organizations. An excerpt from this article, published on July 31, 2015, reads, “Using ICT for social development helps NGOs to have accessible, timely, relevant, and updated information to make on-time decisions and improve social policy.”

The article goes on to pose a scenario in which an NGO makes monthly visits to an area to provide villagers with resources and other aid.

The scenario focuses on two children who received inadequate amounts of milk based on their growth in between visits from the NGO. When ICT is instituted into this scenario, the NGO workers can enter into their phones the exact height, weight, and age of the children each visit in order to chart growth and provide the necessary amount of food and aid.

Today’s society is all about maximizing efficiency. Technology has evolved faster in this period of time than at any other point in history. With this evolution comes the betterment of all mankind. By using technology as a means to maximize the eradication of poverty, people all over the world can begin to feel hopeful that their lives are about to change.

Diego Catala

Sources: Dhaka Tribune, Tech Target
Photo: Dhaka Tribune

windows_10
For the past two decades, Microsoft has been a staple for innovation and progress society. While its achievements have touched billions of people across the globe and made its founder the world’s richest man, the technology giant has found ways to reshape the lives of those less fortunate. In launching its newest software update in Microsoft 10, Microsoft has made a huge investment in bettering those entrenched in poverty.

When it launched at the end of July, the Windows 10 operating system promised to be the most accessible and groundbreaking version put out by this conglomerate. As part of this new release, Microsoft has made a monumental pledge to donate large sums of money to ten non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in order to facilitate the alleviation of global poverty.

Some of these organizations include Save the Children and Keep a Child Alive, which are set to receive $500,000 each. An excerpt from an article in the Inquirer reads, “Microsoft will collaborate with 10 non-government organizations (NGOs) with causes on education, environment, poverty, HIV, and humanitarian relief, among others.” These collaborations were born out of a vision for technology to be the driving force for development in third world countries.

By instituting a grassroots approach to integrating technology with poverty zones, Microsoft 10 is hoping to be a bridge between previous centuries of poverty worldwide and a completely accessible society in the future. By donating an estimated $10 million combined to all of its nonprofit partners, Microsoft’s “Upgrade Your World” initiative is looking at some extremely promising results.

In addition to the massive success of this update, Microsoft has gone further by re-establishing its image as a global force for positive change. Its partnership with these NGOs, as well as all of its contributions, are an inspiration to groups all across the world to become more involved in the fight against poverty.

Diego Catala

Sources: Game Politics, Inquirer
Photo: Wired

Newly Formed "Sports & Rights Alliance" Advocacy Group-TBP
The Sports & Rights Alliance (SRA) is a newly formed coalition of NGO’s focused around preserving human rights in relation to global sporting events. The list of issues the SRA advocates for includes, but is not limited to: ending citizen displacement from sport infrastructure, imprisoning protesters, exploitation of workers, unethical bidding practices and environmental destruction.

The SRA is composed of various international NGO’s such as Amnesty International, FIFPro – World Players’ Union, Football Supporters Europe, Human Rights Watch, the International Trade Union Confederation, Supporters Direct Europe, Greenpeace, Transparency International Germany and Terre des Hommes.

This past February, the SRA penned a letter to the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stressing an adherence to the principles regarding the 2020 and 2024 games. The approved standards mandated by the International Labor Organization was a point of emphasis in addition to increased oversight and inspections for human rights conditions. For the bidding process, the letter requested robust efforts to maintain and enforce ethical business and anti-corruption in choosing a host city.

The IOC met this past February in Brazil to discuss “Agenda 2020,” the strategic outline for the future of the Olympics, which was passed by the committee in December of 2014. The closing of bid registration for the 2024 Olympic games is set for September of 2015 so the timing is most appropriate.

Many recent international games have come under intense scrutiny for similar violations. Free speech issues and poor treatment of their LGBT community has cast many questions and doubts regarding Russia’s selection as 2018 World Cup host. The 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics were tarnished due exploitation of workers, suppression of free speech and corruption. The SRA cites these as examples of a divergence from what international sport and competition should stand for and symbolize.

Additionally, the inaugural European Games are currently being held in Baku, Azerbaijan causing concern and objection throughout the continent. The country has a questionable human rights record and in recent months, government protesters, human rights advocates and international journalists have been detained and imprisoned on inflated charges. This causes great concern for the international community and for Europe in particular.

Another letter written to the President of the European Olympic Committee stressed the immediate and unconditional release of all current activists and journalists who are imprisoned. Furthermore, the letter called for an end to ongoing intimidations, detainments and persecutions of the aforementioned individuals.

FIFA’s selection of Qatar as the 2022 World Cup host has also been met with serious concern and criticism. In lieu of a pre-existing Football infrastructure, the country has relied upon migrant laborers to build multiple stadiums to host the Cup. This arrangement of labor is common throughout the Arabic Peninsula and known as the “kafala” system and is likened to modern day slavery.

FIFA has been inconsistent in their actions to condemn working conditions. The organization has stated their concern for the workers welfare, but also deny responsibility for their treatment. Referring to the government contractors, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, is quoted as saying “they are responsible for their workers.”

Before the FIFA Presidency election, the SRA wrote to President Sepp Blatter and his three opponents citing their grave concern for the condition of the workers. The letter included a questionnaire about their views on the current state of human rights in their sport. It also called for the victor in the election to take action to rectify any violations in the first 100 days of their presidency.

The SRA has proven to quickly become a powerful voice in international sports relations and gathered a following through their advocate efforts. Regarding the allegiance to human rights principles, the SRA have consistently ended their letters by saying, “All these standards should not be based on goodwill, but must be non-negotiable and absolutely binding for all stakeholders.”

Frasier Petersen

Sources: The Globe And Mail, Human Rights Watch 1, Human Rights Watch 2, The Guardian
Photo: The Guardian